It’s strange how one little insecurity can you hold you back from sooooo much. For some its weight, for others its skin, but for me its always been my teeth.
No matter how many times friends and family would try and tell me “oh, don’t be daft, your teeth are fine” I knew they said it out of kindness. My teeth have stopped me from smiling in hundreds of photos, they’re the reason I gave up making YouTube videos, and I hate admitting this but they’re one of the reasons I stopped using dating apps. In fact I just gave up on dating all together because I had become so insecure about my teeth.
Earlier this year it got to a point where I thought, in the words of good old Barbara Streisand, enough is enough!
I had contemplated using Invisalign before, but I didn’t think I could ever afford the treatment. I’d heard it was super expensive and being a single gal living in London, life is expensive enough! It was only earlier this year when a friend could see how much my teeth were killing my confidence that he suggested at least going for a consultation.
And really, what did I have to lose by just going for a consultation? Especially when Finest Dental offer FREE Invisalign consultations. So even if I was to go and then be told I couldn’t have the treatment, I’d only have lost an hour of my time. That’s it.
(Fortunately, by some miracle, the consultation went swimmingly and I was approved for the finance. Winner winner veggie dinner!)
The not-really-free-but-totally-free Consultation
So, it doesn’t sound free, but it is. Basically, Finest Dental took a payment of £50 from me when I booked the consultation. BUT it’s completely refundable after the consultation, even if you choose not to go ahead with the treatment. Honestly, 100% refundable. The £50 is only non-refundable should you cancel within 24 hours of the appointment or not turn up at all. Mine was fully refunded within three days of my consultation. I could have chosen to knock it off my total price, but times are hard and I needed that dollar back in my account pronto.
So, what happened during my consultation? Well, I learnt that I have overcrowded teeth and very unhealthy gums (apparently due to not flossing enough, oops.) They told me I would need 25 trays. Oh, FYI trays are the Invisalign retainers. You quickly realise that Invisalign and their staff never refer to them as retainers, but instead ‘trays’. My 25 would include both top and bottom trays and I would need to wear each set for two weeks.
My (not so) quick math’s worked out that I would have them on for less than a year, which honestly left me astonished! I thought this was going to be a two year process, maybe 18 months at best, so to hear it would take less than a year was unbelievable.
They also priced mine up with some pre-dental medical treatments that were apparently very necessary (read about them below) plus some post-treatment, erm, lets call it, styling (filling, a strain removed and having all my teeth professionally whitened – eeeek!)
So how much did I have to cough up?
I know we’ve all been told it’s rude to talk about money and all that jazz *rolls eyes* but if I was writing about a pair of trainers I’d be telling you the price, so it’s only fair I tell you the cost of this treatment. Including all the above (25 trays, the pre-dental treatment and the post-dental treatment including whitening) my treatment cost is £3.4k but with the payment plan interest it works out at a total of £3.8k which I’ve decided to spread over three years.
Yes, that is VERY expensive, but you can’t put a price on happiness or confidence. I’d wanted straight teeth and a gorgeous smile for so long and I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I would have paid double that! I know people that have had to pay more, and I know people who have paid a lot less. It honestly just depends on your treatment. Invisalign were brilliant at helping me look at my finances and seeing realistically what was the best payment plan for me. The whole consultation took about an hour, including having my entire mouth scanned as well as chat with the finance consultant, and I received a phone call the next day to say I’d been approved!
My periodontal treatment – ouch!
Not everyone has to have some kind of pre-treatment, but as my gums were in a really bad way I had three super painful periodontal treatments to get them sorted, each three week’s apart (yup, it was a long and painful summer). I think because I previously felt nothing could be done about my teeth I kinda gave up on them. I brushed them daily, but if I’m being honest, I rarely flossed. I didn’t think it was that important. How very wrong! I’d now ended up with gum disease and periodontal treatment was an absolute must before getting my teeth to move. It basically means all the nooks and crannies of my gob had many layers of plaque and bacteria that needed cleaning asap (I’d like to send out an official apology to my ex-boyfriend who spent five years kissing me. Sorry dude.)
Periodontol treatment can be so painful that they usually offer adults an injection to numb their whole mouth, but for some reason my orthodontist thought I would be able to handle it sans anaesthetic as I’d apparently seemed ‘very relaxed’ when he had been prodding around my mouth previously. And weirdly, wanting to test my own pain threshold and prove to myself that I’m stronger than I think, I accepted this absurd challenge.
If you are thinking of getting Invisalign, start flossing NOW, because by God that was some pain, especially for someone like me who has sensitive teeth & gums. Lots of blood and lots of white knuckles as I gripped the orthodontist’s chair. Don’t just start flossing daily but start flossing after every meal, and start using a gum-disease mouthwash, my orthodontist recommended this Colgate Peroxyl mouthwash and its AMAZEBALS for sorting your mouth out. Also I say floss but I actually don’t use floss, I use Interdental brushes also recommended by my orthodontist and I’ve become kinda hooked on them.
Eventually starting Invisalign
Eventually, at the end of September, it was finally time to get my Invisalign on. Woohoooooo!
After years of hating my teeth and weeks of waiting for this moment, I felt oddly emotional when I came to sit in the chair and be given my trays and shown how to put them on.
On my first visit I got my first two sets of trays, which equals to four weeks of treatment out of the 50. Invisalign present them in a cute little gift bag which is a lovely touch. I received two little cases to leave my trays in when I’m not using them, one I was instructed to keep in my bag at all times and the other to be left at home (I may have already broken one of them on a night out, oops.)
I also received two chewies, these are little rubber things that you bite onto when you slot your trays in and you can chew on them to make sure that they are staying secure in your mouth. Weirdly addictive.
The side effects
The trays took a lot of getting used to initially. Yes I had the lisp, just as Google and Instagram and every other platform I researched Invisalign on, said I would. Most people said that it would die off in a few days, but mine took longer and although I am completely used to it now, if I get a dry-mouth in nervous situations, the lisp tends to creep back up.
The achey pain I’d read about wasn’t bad at all, in fact I only really feel it when I remove a new tray because you feel the pressure releasing from your teeth. Honestly in terms of achey pain, I would give it a 0.6 out of ten. However, I did find my tongue and gum to be in pain initially because they were catching on the edge of the plastic, particularly the bit behind my teeth on the bottom. That lasted about 10 days, which wasn’t fun, but again, only a 2 out of ten at most.
I’m now tray four/week seven and I feel no pain or discomfort.
However, a dry-mouth is quite common and personally it’s my most annoying Invaslign side effect. For anyone else starting this treatment I advise carrying around a little tub of Vaseline and a bottle of water at all times.
Feeling sick was also an odd side-effect that I wasn’t expecting and I think it must just be a reaction to constantly having plastic in your mouth. It doesn’t happen as much now, maybe if I put a new tray in, but for the first two weeks I would feel nauseous at times.
The rules as instructed by Invisalign
I get very strict instructions from Ivisalign, that are as follows:
- Wear it for 22 hours a day, only to be removed for eating and brushing your teeth
- Do not eat or snack with the trays in
- Only drink water with the trays in
- Definitely DO NOT drink hot tea or coffee with the trays in
- Floss & brush teeth after every meal and snack and then clean trays before putting them back in
But realistically, here are my rules:
- Wear them for somewhere between 18 – 22 hours a day (I not only snack a lot, but if I’m going for a nice meal I don’t always wear them)
- Take them out for drinking all hot drinks and very sugary drinks like coke
- BUT I tend to leave them in whenever I drink white wine (NOT red) or beer or I try and use a straw when I can (preferably a sustainable one)
- Brush and floss/interdental and clean trays after MOST of my meals but if I’m snacking I tend to just shove em’ back in … as I said, I snack a lot, I’d be in the bathroom all day long if I had to do that routine after every single snack
How I clean my trays
I was advised by Invisalign to rinse them with water and soap (yup as in squirty hand soap) and to pour a little minty mouthwash over them to get rid of the soap taste.
DO NOT DO THIS.
I did this once and no amount of mouthwash got rid of the soapy taste. I had a Carex flavour lingering all over my gob for two days.
Instead, after meals I give them a very quick scrub with a normal toothrush with water, as advised by Invisalign – definitely no toothpaste. Apparently the combo of toothpaste and a toothbrush, especially electrical, could scratch the plastic.
Then once in the morning and once in the evening, I pop them in a glass of water and pop in a dentures tablet; I leave them in for anything between 10 – 30 minutes. I use these from Boots, currently on offer for £1. Weirdly I’ve read on a few American bogs that Invisalign don’t recommend this, but I was recommended this process by a UK Invisalign official. And it seems to keep mine fresh … ish. I’ll be honest, all trays start to get a bit grim by day 10, by day 14 I am DESPERATE to pop my new ones in.
Things Invisalign DON’T tell you
On my second trip to Finest Dental to collect trays 4 to 7, I had attachments placed on most of my teeth. These are like little cement studs, similar to a metal train track, that go on your teeth. The BIG difference between these and metal train tracks are these are white and there is no wire. Whilst they aren’t anywhere near as visible as a train track, they are visible, and I wasn’t told about these until much further down the line, waaaaaay after my consultation and after the payments had already started.
On this visit, I also had IPR, which stands for ‘interproximal reduction’. Its the process of creating space between teeth. Essentially its filing gaps in between teeth that they need to move with a teeth file, very much like nail file. The gaps are tiny, between 0.2mm and 0.5mm, but again, I wasn’t told this on my consultation when I signed up. I’ve also noticed these are very rarely shown on images in Invisalign ad’s or social media.
My progress so far…
Despite the bits they forgot to mention, I am LOVING Invisalign. I still feel a little self-conscious about them, because they aren’t 100% invisible, but I think that’s because I’m just so used to being self-conscious about my smile anyway. They are pretty much pain-free, they are so easy to wear and the Finest Dental I visit in London is amazing.What I love about Invisalign is that it’s all kind of down to you; you collect several trays at a time and only need to check in with your orthodontist every now and then. No weekly or monthly permanent fittings. I can take them out when I want.
The process of how it works is brilliant and after seven weeks, although you probably can’t see loads of change, there definitely is. I can feel that my teeth have moved a lot, my bite has already changed and by as quick as January my top row will already be a lot straighter. Most people dread Christmas being over, I however cannot wait to crack on with 2019; the year I will finally have a beautiful smile! YAAAAS QUEEN!